Time+Place: Wednesday 24/01/2007 12:30 Room Auditorium 2 Taub Bld.
Title: Theory of Computation as a Lens on the Sciences: The Example of Computational Molecular Biology
Speaker: Richard M. Karp SPECIAL TALK http://www.cs.berkeley.edu/~karp
Affiliation: University of California at Berkeley, Distinguished Visiting Professor at the Technion


This talk will trace the growing influence of fundamental ideas
from computer science on the nature of research in a number of
scientific fields. There is a growing awareness  that
information processing lies at the heart of the processes
studied in fields as diverse as quantum mechanics, statistical
physics, nanotechnology, neuroscience, linguistics, economics
and sociology. Increasingly, mathematical models in these fields
are expressed in algorithmic languages and describe algorithmic
processes. The speaker will briefly describe connections between
quantum computing and the foundations of quantum mechanics, and
between statistical mechanics and phase transitions in
computation. He will indicate how the growth of the Web has
created new phenomena to be investigated by sociologists and
economists. He will then focus in greater detail on
computational molecular biology, where the view of living cells
as complex information processing systems has become the
dominant paradigm, and will discuss specific algorithmic
problems arising in the sequencing of genomes, the comparative
analysis of the resulting genomic sequences,  the modeling of
networks of interacting proteins, and the associations between
genetic variation and disease.